Week 12 of the NCAA football season is set to kick off this week, and it’s another important weekend for national title contenders. There were a number of games canceled in Week 11 due to COVID-19 concerns, but there is hope that more games will be played this weekend.
Conference races are heating up as well, and every game is extremely important this time of year. There are a handful of Top 25 matchups that should make for a terrific weekend of college football.
Here are 12 of the best matchups featuring Top 25 teams and a quick betting overview for each game.
The 2-0 Oregon Ducks host the 1-1 UCLA Bruins in what could be an interesting matchup in the Pac-12. It’s hard to really know what to make of these teams yet, as Pac-12 Conference play just got rolling.
UCLA picked up an impressive 34-10 win over California on Sunday, but the Bruins were bad in their season opener. UCLA is scoring 38 points per game, and perhaps this offense can give the Ducks a scare in this one.
Oregon took some time to establish its dominance over Washington State on Saturday night, but the Ducks eventually rolled to a win. Quarterback Tyler Shough has thrown for 539 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Ducks offense.
Oregon is the much better team on paper, and it should be able to win this one easily. Take the Oregon Ducks -14.0 over the UCLA Bruins in this Pac-12 matchup.
The most important game of the weekend will take place in Columbus, Ohio, as the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Indiana Hoosiers. Both teams enter with undefeated records, and this game is for first place in the Big Ten East.
Indiana quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has thrown for 1,070 yards and nine touchdowns this season to lead the Hoosiers. The defense is holding opponents to just 19.3 points per game, and there are very few holes in this Indiana roster.
Ohio State is a national title contender, and the Buckeyes have wasted little time proving that in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes have scored at least 38 points in all three games this season, and quarterback Justin Fields has 11 touchdown passes.
Ohio State is going to win this game, but a line of 20.5 points is not giving Indiana enough respect. Take the points and bet on the Hoosiers to present a real challenge to Ohio State on Saturday.
The 7-1 Clemson Tigers return to the field on Saturday after suffering their first loss of the season just two weeks ago. Florida State is a massive underdog in this game, and the Seminoles are just 2-6 on the season.
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be back after missing games with COVID-19, and that is a big reason that the Tigers lost. Lawrence has thrown for 1,833 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he will look to make up for lost time in this one.
Florida State has now lost three straight games, and it has not scored more than 22 points in any of them. The Seminoles are also allowing more than 36 points per game, and that defense is going to get gashed in this one.
Covering 34.5 points is never an easy thing to do, but the Tigers get it done on Saturday against an ACC rival.
One of the biggest and best games of the weekend will take place in the Sun Belt Conference in what will likely be a conference championship preview. The 7-0 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will host the 6-1 Appalachian State Mountaineers, and the hosts are slight favorites.
Appalachian State has now won five straight games, and its defense has been dominant this season. The Mountaineers are allowing just 16.9 points per game, but that unit will face a huge test in this matchup.
Coastal Carolina is averaging nearly 38 points per game, and the Chanticleers feature a balanced offensive attack. Quarterback Grayson McCall has thrown for 1,393 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, but this team can run the ball as well.
This should be a tight game throughout, but Coastal Carolina just has too much offense. Take the Chanticleers -4.5 over the Mountaineers in this Sun Belt clash on Saturday.
The American Athletic Conference will also have a huge showdown on Saturday as the 5-2 UCF Knights host the 7-0 Cincinnati Bearcats. UCF has traditionally been the best team in the American, but Cincinnati looks like a national title contender this season.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder has thrown for 1,483 yards and 14 touchdowns, and the Bearcats can score points in a hurry. The defense has also been dominant for the Bearcats, allowing just 12.4 points per contest.
UCF has now won three straight games, and its offense has been scoring points in bunches of late. The Knights are the top passing team in the country, throwing for more than 396 yards per game.
This game has the potential to be a shootout, but defense will eventually play an important role. Cincinnati is the more complete team, and that will allow it to stay undefeated and cover the 4.5-point spread.
The Wisconsin Badgers have played just two games so far this season, but they have looked impressive both times out. Northwestern is a perfect 4-0 so far in Big Ten play, but it is a home underdog in this matchup with Wisconsin.
Freshman quarterback Graham Mertz has thrown seven touchdowns through two games, but the strength of Wisconsin is on the defensive side of the ball. The Badgers have allowed just 18 total points through two games, and that unit has carried the team.
Northwestern does not have a high-powered offense, and the Wildcats prefer to play low-scoring affairs. The Wildcats average nearly 175 rushing yards per game, which will be a huge key in this game.
This game is for first place in the Big Ten West Division, and it should be a battle. Wisconsin will likely come away with the win, but look for the Wildcats to cover the 7.5-point spread.
The 3-4 Kentucky Wildcats visit the 6-0 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday in a game with a huge spread. Alabama is now the No. 1-ranked team in the country, and Kentucky is having a disappointing year.
Kentucky is scoring just 23.3 points per game, and it will take much more offense than that to stay close in this game. The Wildcats do run the ball for nearly 200 yards per game, and that could allow them to keep this one close.
Alabama is outscoring opponents by more than 25 points per game this season, and that includes some great SEC opponents. Quarterback Mac Jones has thrown for over 2,100 yards, while Devonta Smith is nearing 800 receiving yards.
Kentucky would need to play its best game of the year to keep this one close, but that is not going to happen. Alabama cruises to another blowout win and easily covers the 30-point spread.
The 2-4 Tennessee Volunteers will take on the 4-2 Auburn Tigers on Saturday in an SEC showdown. Tennessee has now lost four straight games after a 2-0 start, while Auburn has won two games in a row.
The Volunteers just simply can’t find offense, averaging just 20.7 points per game. It’s hard to see Tennessee turning things around in this game as it takes on a great Auburn defense.
Auburn still needs more consistent play from quarterback Bo Nix, but the rest of the team has stepped up. The Tigers are running for more than 175 yards per contest, and the defense is holding opponents to just 22.8 points per game.
Tennessee is an absolute mess at this point, and this game will only compound those issues. Take the Auburn Tigers -10.0 over the Tennessee Volunteers.
The 4-2 Georgia Bulldogs host the 2-4 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday, and the hosts are massive favorites. Mississippi State might be missing some players for this one after having a COVID-19 outbreak last week.
The visitors are throwing for more than 303 yards per game, and former Stanford quarterback KJ Costello is having a big year. That’s about the only area that Mississippi State excels in, and that’s a problem against top SEC teams.
Georgia is trying to bounce back after suffering a blowout loss to Florida two weeks ago. The Bulldogs are scoring just 29.0 points per game, and it appears that they have a huge problem at quarterback.
Playing Mississippi State should help fix some issues for Georgia, but this game will be within 20 points. Take the +24.5 points and bet on the visiting Bulldogs in this one.
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are fierce rivals, and these two teams will meet up on Saturday in an important game. Oklahoma is 5-2 on the season, while Oklahoma State comes into this game with a 5-1 record.
Running back Chuba Hubbard has run for 581 yards this season to lead the Oklahoma State attack. The defense has also been solid for the Cowboys as they are allowing less than 18 points per game.
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler has thrown for 2,018 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2020, but the Sooners need more from the running game. The defense has also been a huge issue at times, allowing at least 37 points in each of the Sooners' two losses.
Look for a high-scoring affair on Saturday, and that plays into the hands of the Sooners. Take Oklahoma -7.0 over Oklahoma State in this huge Big 12 rivalry game.
The Liberty Eagles are one of the biggest surprise teams in the country this season, entering Week 12 with a perfect 8-0 record. North Carolina State enters this game with a record of 5-3, but it is a slight 3.5-point favorite in this matchup.
Liberty is averaging 40.5 points per game and can score in a variety of ways. The Eagles already have a road win over Virginia Tech on their resume, and this would be another impressive victory over an ACC foe.
North Carolina State is giving up 33.9 points per game, and that defense could be a major cause for concern in this matchup. The Wolfpack have been playing better of late, but this is a monster test.
This should be a tight battle, but Liberty is going to have just enough offense to get it done. The Eagles stun another ACC opponent and win this game outright.
The Pac-12 Conference has gotten off to a strange start in 2020, but the league is hoping to get this game in. USC comes into this game with a perfect 2-0 record while Utah has yet to take the field this season.
The Trojans have won their first two games by a combined five points, and their offense has struggled to get going. Kedon Slovis has thrown for 706 yards through two games, but the Trojans must find more balance on that side of the ball.
Utah was one of the best defensive teams in the country a season ago, and that unit will need to play well in this game. There will likely be plenty of rust for the Utes in this one, and that could allow USC to take control early.
This game is hard to handicap since the Utes haven’t taken the field, but USC will find a way to win again and cover the slim 2.5-point spread.
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